Step Down in Penalties for Refusal Conviction with Prior DWIs

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If a defendant is convicted of a second or subsequent DWI conviction 10 years after the prior conviction, he or she is entitled to a “step down” in penalties.

This means that the defendant gets sentenced to lesser penalties than the penalties for a second or third offense.

But what about a defendant who is charged with Refusal to Consent to a Breath Test who has 2 prior DWI convictions?

On May 11, 2015, the Appellate Division decided State v. Taylor. In this case, the defendant was charged with Refusal, but had prior DWI convictions from over 10 years ago. The municipal court judge sentenced the defendant as a 3rd time DWI offender. However, the Appellate Division ruled that the defendant should have been sentenced as a second offender.